The Art of Science, vol. 1

In the first edition of a series entitled “The Art of Science,” we share five images from the Lindquist, Weinberg, Gehring, Reddien and Page labs.
In the stunning images displayed here, Whitehead Institute scientists examine the very fundamentals of life—the eyes of a planarian, the ovule of a plant, and a single protein in a microscopic sample of yeast. The images not only reveal Whitehead’s latest research, they also reflect each Faculty Member’s view of the biological world.
Click any of the images below to enlarge and view a slideshow.

Proteins in yeast (Lindquist lab)

Using yeast as a model, the Lindquist lab is working to understand the underlying mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases by studying a fundamental cellular process known as protein folding. Here, researchers are using a technique called immunostaining to detect the presence of two specific proteins in a yeast sample. The protein Sec13 is stained red; the protein ssAbeta is stained green.

Proteins in yeast (Lindquist lab). Photo credit: Sebastian Treusch.

Skeletal muscle (Weinberg lab)

The Weinberg lab, known for its pioneering study of cancer and metastasis, is currently studying skeletal muscle tissue in order to investigate the role of different tissues in cancer progression. This picture depicts different stages of skeletal muscle differentiation. As the skeletal muscle progenitors differentiate, their color changes from green through red to white and pink.

Skeletal muscle (Weinberg lab). Photo credit: Zuzana Keckesova.

A mature plant ovule (Gehring lab)

Using the plant Arabidopsis thaliana as a model, the Gehring lab studies the ways in which our gene expression is regulated during reproduction and development. Here, researchers are interested in the egg cell (pictured in green), which contains the plant’s genetic information.

A mature plant ovule (Gehring lab). Photo credit: Mary Gehring.

Planarian flatworm eyes (Reddien lab)

The Reddien lab studies regeneration and stem cells in planarians, an animal whose legendary regenerative powers enable it to re-grow a severed head, tail, or virtually any other part of its body. Here, the worm is recovering from a complete decapitation six days earlier; the cells aiding in regenerating the eye are colored blue.

Planarian flatworm eyes (Reddien lab). Photo credit: Sylvian Lapman.

Mouse spermatocytes (Page lab)

The Page lab studies mammalian sex chromosomes and their roles in germ cell development, with special attention to the function, structure, and evolution of the Y chromosome. Here, researchers are investigating a particular gene’s role during meiosis—a type of cell division that produces gametes (sperm and egg cells). The gene of interest, named GCNA I, is stained green.

Mouse spermatocytes (Page lab). Photo credit: Mark Gill.